Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
These were the first bible verses I memorized.
It was over 30 years ago when my mother died and a time for spiritual growth for me. I was a young wife and mother and life was good. My husband had a good job, we were buying our home and I was able to be a stay at home mom. Then my mother passed away after suffering from heart disease and kidney failure. She was 57.
Most of that time is a blur to me, today it seems so surreal as I watched my dear mother die. Now I was an orphan, both parents are gone, my brother gone, my sister and I only had each other now and we were both struggling with our grief not knowing how to help each other.
A few months later DH announced he wanted to re-enlist in the Army. Since I was an Army brat I was supportive and excited for this change and putting the past few months behind me, until he left home for training, that is, which left me still grieving my mother, caring for a 2 yr old and for the first time in my life I was alone. I felt as if I was sinking fast.
A lady I had not known that well from church invited me to lunch. We basically traveled in different circles. I had perceived her as having the “perfect” life, the “perfect” family, the “perfect” home, well, basically perfect everything. I assumed she was to “good” for me. As I was blessed to get to know her I realized it was her relationship with Jesus that reflected her perfect love for our Lord.
If I had not accepted her invitation because of how I viewed her life I would have missed out having a very special person in my life not to mention all the people I might have kept at arm’s length because of my problem with categorizing people by their outward appearance. Even though we have lost touch through the years, I will never forget SH and how she came into my life at a time that I needed her. I will forever be grateful how she listened to God’s call and ministered to me.
She taught me graciousness and humility. She also taught me my first life lesson on the promises from Jesus.
During that first lunch she ministered to me in ways I never imagined. She was understanding, she listened. She gave me a shoulder to lean on when I did not realize I needed a shoulder to lean on. She showed me the love of Jesus. She showed me the way to peace is through my relationship with Jesus. She shared with me her testimony and introduced me to the writings of Catherine Marshall and Cory ten Boom. During our long talks she counseled me and encouraged me.
SH planted a mustard seed that day and over 30 years later it is still growing and is producing fruit. (parable of the mustard seed)
The first verse she shared withe me that day was Isaiah 41:10 ~ “do not fear, for I am with you”..powerful words for someone who felt so alone. That day God’s peace settled all around me. I was not alone – God was with me giving me strength to face each new day without my mother and He was with me during those long lonely days and nights as I waited for DH to finish training and receive his orders, so we could all be together again.
One of the most precious gifts I have ever received was from SH, it was the gift of prayer. In Philippians 4:7 I experienced the power of prayer, “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Since that day there have been many more trials and sorrows; and blessed days of joys and happiness. There have been obstacles to overcome. Some days I have leaned on Jesus and most days I try to handle things myself. But God always gently leads me back to these two verses that enable me to hand my concerns over to Him, who promised to never leave me and to always give me the strength to endure.
Life is not always fair. Life is unpredictable at times the circumstances and events in our lives can have our life spin out of control. We may feel as if we are drowning in the storms of life and unable to catch a life-preserver. Jesus is that life-preserver and He is always within reach. It is up to us to reach out to Jesus and let Him calm our storms.
“Do not be anxious … (come to Me with your fears and anxiety and I, your Heavenly Father) will give you peace and guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ”
Are you anxious today? What is your fear? What is troubling you and causing you stress? Whatever you are going through – reach out and cling tightly to Jesus and never let go and experience “the peace of God that transcends all understanding”.